Your retarded (and other things that bug me)

Yes, the “Your” is a purposeful mistake. I quote the great Ross Geller,

‘Y-O-U-apostrophe-R-E means “You Are.” Y-O-U-R means “your!” ‘

I see this all the time. From educated people. Yeah. Maybe the parenthetical part of the subject line is a little hasty. It doesn’t bug me so much as make me, well, sad.

Here’s another. “Would you like to go to the store with Mike and I?” Okay, “with Mike and I” is a prepositional phrase, where “Mike and I” is the object. And it’s in the objective case (duh), which means that it’s “with Mike and me.” Here’s an easy rule of thumb to figure out whether or not to put “I” or “me” at the end of “so-and-so and (I or me)”. Replace the object with “we” and see if it makes sense. “We” is in the subjective case and fits with “I”, so our phrase would be “Would you like to go to the store with we?” (Notice what we did there? “Mike and whatever” became “we”)

That’s clearly not right, right? (hint: it’s clearly not right). If “we” doesn’t work, use “us” and see if it makes sense (btw, “us” fits with “me”). Our phrase is now “Would you like to go to the store with us?” Now that sounds right, right? (hint: yes). So, what did we learn? We learned that the correct phrase is “Would you like to go to the store with Mike and me?”

I think there’s almost this unconscious urge to resist using the word “me” and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because if we use “I” it just sounds smarter. Well, we might think that, but we would be wrong, and to someone who knows, we sound like an illiterate hillbilly. It reminds me of a guy I used to work with who will remain nameless that would use the word “infer” for the word “imply” because, I guess, he thought it sounded smarter. Well, Mel, as it turns out, the speaker/writer implies and the listener/reader infers. Yeah, it’s true.

I swear I’m not making this up.

So the next time you hear someone use “so-and-so and I” in the objective case (quick review: that’s the one where we use “us”), just smile and think, “Gee, your retarded.”


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